On Broadway, Director’s Notes (Part 1) play me

As you all know, I was the director and star of “Gym Dandy!”, a spectacular theatrical production that enjoyed a wildly successful run in Center City Philadelphia for several years. The show is currently performed by many touring companies, and was recently picked up by a producer who found it a home here on Broadway. The show is currently in its pre-production phase, and we recently started rehearsal several times a week. I am continuing my dual duties/roles of director and star.
As the show’s director, one of my responsibilities is to hand out notes after every rehearsal. However, because many of the cast members don’t have time to stick around after rehearsal, what with dance classes and odd jobs, I’ve decided to distribute these director’s notes via this website. It’s easier than sending email, and besides, I want everyone to know what everyone else’s notes are.
Director’s Notes (Sunday, 7/21 through Thursday, 7/25)
Before I say anything else, I’d just like to thank those of you who’ve been bothering to show up for rehearsals this week. However, I must say that I’m more than just a bit put off by the fact that the majority of people who have been making appearances have been Extras. And while I do appreciate their work ethic, they are NOT what makes this show. So those of you who are the so-called stars would be wise to take a tip from them and show up on a regular basis, lest you find yourselves in their shoes, quite literally. Got it?

  1. Member Extra #11: Fantastic. Any interest in understudying for Trainer #6?

  2. Trainer #12. Please note that there will be no deviation from the blocked choreography. Although you are in the background for most of the first scene in Act 1, the audience will still be able to see what you’re doing. This thing has been carefully staged. That means that having Member Extra #23 walk backwards on the treadmill at 2.0 mph on a 15% incline is prohibited. We don’t want to draw attention to the extras. Extras are not the stars. You are not the star.
  3. Member Extra #3: The part of Herr E. Grohner has already been cast. I realize that he did not show up for rehearsal, but that doesn’t mean I want you running his lines. I will keep you in mind for his understudy, however. Your grunts and groans contained a certain subtlety that his don’t. Impressive. But for now, just hang in the background and grimace, red-faced, as you bench-press more weight than you can handle.
  4. Staremasters #1, 6, 14, and 30: Don’t be so obvious. When the girls walk by, it shouldn’t look like you’re staring at them.
  5. Staremaster #7: That thing you did where you hid your face in your towel and pretended to wipe your face, but were really checking out the girls? That was brilliant. Inspired. Share that trick with Staremasters #1, 6, 14, and 30.
  6. Trainer #3: You are not Matthew Perry. Please stop. One Matthew Perry is more than this world needs. Please use your mirror time more wisely: Stop checking out your own ass’ reflection and try practicing a different mouth arrangement other than the goofy fun-boy grin.
  7. “Of Human Blondage”: It’s OK to break a sweat, honey. In fact, I insist that you do so. We’re supposed to be in a gym, for fuck’s sake, not the Russian Tea Room. Contrary to what you may have heard from the ladies with whom you lunch, you do not have to buy it if you break it. The money you’ve amassed in anticipation of having to spend it on the sweat you thought you might break someday can be better spent on a new colorist who will not insist on that horrid shade of blonde. (If you really want a little tip, let me just tell you that you can get the same effect with a bottle of peroxide. But that’s our little secret. Who am I to drive the colorists out of business?) So get to steppin’, raise your heartrate above your weight (don’t be confused — that means anything over 85), and put down the magazine.
  8. Jumping Jackass: After a little talk with the choreographer and the producer last week, we decided to write out your part. Take your things and go.
  9. This is not a porn movie. We do not make those sounds here. Stop it.
  10. BoyBandWannabe: “Gym Dandy!” is not a musical. The singing must stop.

Oh, and everyone: Please please please drink your coffee before coming to rehearsal. I want your energy to come from a deeper place than caffeine. You should be honored to be part of this production, and the excitement of working on a Broadway show should be the force that propels you out of bed every morning. And leave the newspapers at home.
Thank you all for your time. See you at 5:45 a.m. sharp tomorrow. And please, do us all a favor and at least try to brush or comb your hair. “Bedhead” closed weeks ago.